Female-founded Everlywell leads the nation in the first at-home test for COVID-19.
By Jenny Hoff, Photos courtesy of Everlywell
Update – March 24: According to an announcement made on Instagram, Everlywell is “prioritizing [its]initial days’ supply of COVID-19 tests for qualifying hospitals and healthcare companies.” The company says testing for individuals will come “soon.”
As hospitals and state leaders scramble to provide more test centers for COVID-19, the Austin-based home-diagnostic testing company Everlywell has become the first company in the country to announce an at-home test for consumers. It will be available starting March 23.
The female-led company put a call out in early March for laboratories that met certain specifications to help them create and deliver a COVID-19 home-testing kit within two weeks. As an incentive to streamline the process, Everlywell pledged up to $1 million in development money to the labs that could deliver.
“The extreme shortage of tests for COVID-19 puts millions of Americans at risk,” Founder and CEO Julia Cheek said in a press release. “Everlywell is committed to helping stop the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. by making this test widely available. As the national leader in at-home lab testing, we want to use our resources and expertise to help as many people as we can.”
The test will cost $135 (no profit to the company) and will be available for purchase after a customer answers screening questions online at everlywell.com and qualifies for a required doctor’s prescription. No doctor’s visit is needed for the prescription, testing or results; the process will be conducted through telehealth doctors and a kit that includes special swabs to get the necessary samples for an accurate diagnosis. Once a customer sends their sample in a pre-paid envelope to the lab, they’ll receive their results via email within 48 hours. If a test comes back positive, the customer will have a phone consultation with a board-certified physician. The test is currently available to anyone over the age of 18.
“Everlywell was founded to give people affordable, convenient access to lab testing,” Cheek said in an email statement. “Never has our mission been more important. Our team has been working around the clock with top scientists and laboratories in the nation to provide an end-to-end home solution for diagnosing COVID-19. By working with multiple labs to scale infrastructure, the company plans to have testing and diagnosis capacity for a quarter of a million people weekly.”
Cheek founded Everlywell in 2015 and last year, while pregnant with her first child, secured $50 million in funding, partnered with Humana and CVS, and helped change an outdated law limiting access to health care. She was also recently named one of the 100 women changing the world by Create + Cultivate, while Everlywell made the list of Fast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2019.